Florida Hospital For Children’s Center for Child & Family Wellness: The Y Connection

Getting fit and physically active are major components in helping kids improve their wellness and maintain a healthy weight. That's why Florida Hospital for Children partners with the Y to provide greater access to top-notch fitness opportunities, as well as a team of pediatric experts focused on all aspects of kids' health.

Since 2014, Florida Hospital for Children's Center for Child & Family Wellness has operated its entire pediatric practice at three YMCA Family Centers: The Blanchard Park YMCA, the Peggy, and Philip B. Crosby YMCA Wellness Center and the YMCA Aquatic Center. 

This unique partnership provides broader access to community-based care, especially for kids and families who are most likely to be impacted by childhood obesity. According to the American Heart Association, about one in three American kids and teens are overweight or obese. Children from low-income families more likely to be affected, putting them at greater risk for lifelong health challenges.

The Florida Hospital program is led by Dr. Angela Fals, a pediatric weight specialist, as well as a multi-disciplinary team comprised of Dr. Indira Abraham-Pratt, a child clinical psychologist; Michael Woodall, an exercise physiologist, and certified personal trainer; and Christopher Schnell, a clinical registered dietitian certified in pediatric weight management.

According to Dr. Fals, obesity is a complex problem that often affects entire families. That's why the program teaches kids, as well as their parents, how to adopt healthier lifestyles, while also addressing the social, emotional, and nutritional issues associated with childhood obesity.

Research shows that ongoing, personalized support is also essential to achieving long-term change. For that reason, the six-month program takes a "one-on-one" approach to wellness that includes regular medical visits, behavioral counseling, nutritional supportindividualized fitness plans, social activities, and family workshops focused on healthier eating, cooking, gardening and more.

Dan Wilcox, YMCA President/CEO, said that the partnership between the Y and Florida Hospital delivers on both organizations' commitment to encouraging preventative health and wellness at every stage of life. “The Y is honored to partner with Florida Hospital in giving kids a healthier start," Wilcox said. ”The healthy habits children develop now will help them reach their fullest potential and live stronger for years to come."

To request more information about Florida Hospital's Center for Child & Family Wellness programs at the Y, click here.